When you visit a city for the first time the best way to get to know it, is to walk it. But if you do it alone, you could miss details about the culture, life style, and historical facts that have happened there. Therefore, in my opinion, a free walking tour is an excellent option: you will walk, you will get some interesting data about the most important places of the city, and you will pay just a tip according to what you think of the tour.
In Berlin there are many options and we finally choose the free walking tour offered by Sandeman. But Berlin is big city, with a long and very important history, so it is plenty of alternatives and each one is different to the other, so you should check first and select the one which better fits your interests.
The meeting point for Sandeman’s tours is the famous Brandenburg Gate, maybe the most iconic and known symbol of the city. It is located at the end of the Unter den Linden Avenue, just in front of the Tiergarten.
The gate was scene of the most important historical facts that happened in the country, and in the entire world. It witnessed the French invasion led by Napoleon, who wanted to take the entire gate to Paris. As he couldn’t, he finally took the quadriga only, which later was recovered by the Germans . In front of the gate the Nazi armies also paraded, and during the Cold War, it became the border between both Germanies, and part of the dark Berlin Wall.
Just a few blocks away from the gate, the Memorial to the Jews Murdered in Europe is the most solemn point of the tour. We will speak about this memorial later in the blog. All I will say now, is that this is a must-see in the city. Not far way, you will also find the placer where the Führer bunker was located. Now it is just a parking lot, so if you are not accompanied by a guide, you will simply miss it. There’s an important decistion behind it: the government does not want it to become a pilgrimage site for neo-nazis.
One of the peculiarities of Berlin is that, despite having been the center of Nazi power (or rather because of), there is very little construction that refers to National Socialist architecture. The reason: after the World War II the city was completely in ruins, and only a couple of buildings were left standing. The Ministry of Finance is one of them.
En las ruinas del cuartel general de la Gestapo, Pablo nos cuenta la historia del protagonista de la célebre canción que habla sobre la libertad. No voy a decirte cuál es, porque perdería el efecto, pero lo que sí te digo es que si no lo sabías o no te habías percatado antes, escuchar la letra frente a los restos del temible Muro es impactante.
Other historically important places to visit in Berlin are the Checkpoint Charlie (border crossing during the Cold War) and the old Gestapo headquarters with the display called «Topography of Terror». You can also visit Trabi World if you want to know more about this nice communist car which was delivered to the people by the East Germany government after long years on a waiting list.
The last point of our free walking tour in Berlin was the Humbold University, an important historical site, again. On the square in front of this building, on May 10, 1933, the famous Bebelplatz book burning took place. Thousands of books were burned by students sympathetic to Nazism.
From here on, each one is released to continue touring the city on their onw. But now, with a better idea of what happened in each place, so you can also better choose what to do during the rest of your stay. Whatever you do, just make sure you enjoy this fabulous city that is Berlin.